Monday, May 21, 2018

Mulch Madness

For all you mulch happy gardeners out there I too am a believer. I have always been a disciple of the great mulchers of America. Some would say the Facebook group of The Garden Professors is all about using arborist mulch, you know, the rowdy and stringy chipper mulch from the professional and kind of professional tree trimmers. And yes that seems to be a ongoing subject over there, but I have to admit in my experience that aborist mulch has always been a part of success in my gardening adventures. Back in the day (early 90's) when I first experienced the fruits of free arborist mulch, I was reluctant to use the mulch as it was so stringy and "dirty looking". It had masses of limbs, sticks, stumps, green trimmed foliage and other foul things I care not to mention. However, my arborist friends would deliver in truckloads for free, much to the chagrin of my two young boys who were volunteered into the world of mulch madness. Yes they even gifted me a two wheeled barrow for fathers day. 
One specific load of mulch I remember fondly was from a customer who wanted her cedar firewood ground and taken away, it was the most beautiful pile of mulch I had ever seen. 
Now there has been times when I have have purchased store bought mulch, mostly for garden tours or special visitors coming to the garden, but when you have a garden this size it is expensive for mulch that breaks down eventually. 

Our recent spring weather has been very cool and I had some concern about the emergence of many of the plants in the native plant garden in the hell strip. This was also the first spring in a while that we left the cut down of the previous years foliage around the trimmed plants and added 3-4" of arborist mulch on top of that. But alas all the plants burst out sooner of later. There were some newly fall planted grasses that we were careful in not covering up completely. The images below show the various depths of mulch. So enjoy your mulch madness too!

Below some man-bagged cedar mulch
This image is from an area that has not received the arborist mulch yet.
The mulch wagon full of our town's recycle center free arborist mulch.
Still have the mulch wagon my boys gave me. The piece of goat panel is used to screen the larger pieces stems out which in turn go to the dog run for packing into the soil.
This is the material for the dog run. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

After Mid-day.

Bloom Day 2016.
It's been a while since I've posted as social media seems to take all the spare time these days. I'm somewhat nostalgic writing this blog post as writing them used to consume quite a bit of spare time, nevertheless I always enjoyed completing a post and interacting with other bloggers.
As always the 15th of the month means Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, a meme created by Carol at May Dream Gardens where fellow gardeners display their blooms every month.
Also I have a question, what photo editing software are any of you using as Picasa is gone? I wasn't able to edit any of these photos.
Echinacea purperea
It was nice to see a few Monarch butterflies and bees as I was out taking shots this late afternoon.
Eutochium maculatum - Gateway Joe Pye Weed
A few wide angle shots.
Above looking west from middle of property front entrance.
Rudebeckia, Echinacea, and Miscanthus 'Morning Light" entrance garden.
Looking East from the driveway. Amsonia , Etrochium, Baptisia, and Panicum Dallas Blues.
This would be a short list of things blooming today but I must move on. So happy bloom day.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

On the Farm (part 2)

In the last post of On the Farm , I discussed my trip to Northwest Oklahoma and my wife's parents farm properties. The image above was taken from the Whorton place as I was more interested in this property since it was converted to the Conservation Reserve Program years ago.

As you can see the hay bales in the upper left the land has been use as a hay field. It was taken out of the of the CRP program a few years ago. Many Tallgrass species are still present from the original seeding while some more invasive volunteer species have spread into the field from nearby properties such as the Weeping Lovegrass -Eragrostis curvula pictured above. 
This image was taken from the low lying area towards the higher plain. In the lower area where moisture settles from rainfall is present, Weeping Lovegrass, Sorghastrum nutans-Indian Grass, and a lesser amount of Andropogon geradii-Big Bluestem. The higher ground pictured above has more of a rusty brown hue consists mainly of Schizachyrium scoparium-Little Bluestem.

My original intention to visit this hay meadow was to transplant some grasses and possibly forbs to my own prairie garden in Kansas. The images below represent my selections.

Eragrostis curvula- Weeping Lovegrass, and the native lovegrass Eragrostis trichodes-Sand Lovegrass.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

On the Farm

Cindy and I visited her parents last weekend which I enjoyed the fellowship as well as visiting parcels of their farm and pasture lands. The above image is from the "Whorton" place, an 80 (80 acres) of a section. This land was purchased by Cindy's dad, John, for his wife and Cindy's mother Lola Jean. It was a present for Lola for taking care of his mother over a year when she was sick with cancer.
Most parcels are described as 80's (80 acres), quarters (160 acres), half sections (320 acres) and full sections (640 acres) which are a mile square. This area is in far northwestern Oklahoma, with a annual average rainfall of 20-25" a year, with very sandy soils which have low water holding capacity. This visit the sandy soils were very dry, and most of the cultivated land is planted with cereal wheat which is in dire need of moisture.
I have hunted quail on this particular property for most of my adult life and always enjoy coming back and reminiscing.
Most of the land parcels are named after people whom previously owned the property or the leaser if the land is leased. Almost all of the quarters in the area have some kind of oil wells which have cattle guards so the oil maintenance workers (called pumpers) can check their wells. This image above serves as the entrance with a cattle guard which allows entrance without a gate but keeps cattle from leaving. Also the image above shows a old corral with a windmill and stock tank. The land is primarily tallgrass prairie plants planted during the Conservation Reserve Program 20-30 years ago when the federal government paid farmers to take marginal cultivated land out of production and plant into prairie grasses and legumes and to be be left still. Recently many farmers have took these properties out of the program and replanted them or began cutting the prairie for hay which my in-laws have done. This land contains mainly Big(Andropogon)and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium) mainly on the high ground, Switchgrass (Paniucum) in the low areas which hold more moisture, and Sand Lovegrass (Erogrostis) which was planted across the road and has blown in and populated the old CRP plantings. The Love grass is not as beneficial for cattle as the Bluestems and Switchgrass. In the areas which are not planted in CRP the old short grass prairie plants are more prevalent such as Buffalograss, Gramma grasses, native Eragrostis and various forbs. Native Artemisias are prevelant along ditchbanks with wild plum thickets and annual Buckwheat prevalent this time of year.
Artemisia frigada-Fringed sagebrush with Ereigonum annum-Annual Buckwheat, Quercus marilandice-Blackjack Oak and Helianthus spp-sunflower. 
Annual Buckwheat bloom.
Sorry for the quality of the images as they are all taken. from a iPhone. I left my DSLR at home of all places.
You can see the red tint to the sandy soil, definitely common to many parts of Oklahoma. I'll be adding more images and story on my next blog post. Bye.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pure Prairie League

Pure Prairie League was/is one of my favorite country rock bands from the 70's just as the new prairie garden is maturing into my favorite garden area.
As most garden photographers understand the morning time period is a great time to 'shoot' the garden as well as view it from a golden standpoint.
Dalea purpurea-Purple Prairie Clover and Nasella tenuisima-Mexican Feather Grass.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

At the Waterhole

The Banditos have returned to our stock tank watering hole. Cedar Waxwings are providing the entertainment around the garden these days as the Western Hackberry trees(Celtis occidentalis) are providing much needed berries to the Robins, Starlings, and Waxwings.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Maxed Out

Hmmm.....doesn't look too abnormally large.
That's a pretty normal size of things.
That's a little more on the maximum size.
Bam! Yes, that's maximum. 9-10' Tall! Yes these plants are taller than the stop sign! whoops. They are impressive, however they are a little large and 'weedy' looking for me and for my small piece of property. The plant? Helianthus maximiliani -Maximilian Sunflower. I planted some by seed two years ago in a eastern exposure and the plants stayed pretty confined with late season interest that I enjoyed. This spring many seedlings were popping up every where including these plants which I allowed to grow while removing many more nearby. The size of the plant and texture of the foliage mixed in with the similar foliage of Western Ironweed created a combination that really isn't pleasant to the eye and they bloom so late.
It looks like a glob and most of the foliage has been eaten by lacebugs. So most of these are gone as I write this. I left a colony near the house and one plant on the right.
The blooms are impressive and the bees and ants love them.
This is Kansas you know.
More to come!